Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication July - August 2018

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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28 | July - August 2018 | www . LUBRICANT SAMPLING Michael D. Holloway | ALS Tribology The use of unmanned aeria l vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, has increased exponentially in recent years due to the advances in materials, aeronautics and operating software. ese advancements have allowed drones to be employed in a variety of applications and complete tasks that would be difficult, if not impossible, for people to accom- plish. Some companies are now exploring the concept of coupling this technology with non-destruc- tive analytical tools such as infrared thermography, vibration sensors and even oil sampling systems. Obvi- ously, the ability to examine assets in locations that would be financially prohibitive or even physically impos- sible to obtain data could prove quite valuable. Types of Drones ere are a number of drone manufacturers and price points that vary from hundreds of dollars to many thousands of dollars. ere are also several different drone designs, including rotar y-wing, fixed-wing, quadcopters and duct- ed-fan models. Each has its place in certain situations. Rotary-wing drones generally are electric-powered, can support a payload of 15 to 20 pounds for 10 to 30 minutes, and offer vertical takeoff and landing. They are ideal for small-area operations of less than 80 acres, such as infra- structure inspections, sporting events, real-estate photography, etc. Fixed-wing drones also are often electric-powered, are capable of long-duration flight, and can carry multiple payloads. e ducted-fan drone is more robust and efficient. It has a greater speed range and provides a maximum payload in a compact, hovering platform. Keep in mind that hovering is critical for up-close inspections. Oil Sampling Case Study One manufacturer recently encountered a problem when attempting to perform oil sampling in a difficult-to-reach application – wind turbines. ese applications can be quite challenging because of their location. Gear oil that lubri- cates a wind turbine system is rarely changed out due to the difficulty of replacing 50-plus gallons of oil a few hundred feet above the ground. However, unmanned aerial vehicles have proven to be the perfect solu- tion in this situation. Only recently has the concept of using drones for remote oil sampling become viable due to a combination Using Drones for Remote Oil Sampling "Using drones to pull an oil sample is an example of applying high-tech tools to understand an asset's condition." Examples of rotary-wing UAVs

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